Developers have raised concerns over delays as the City performs upgrades of the water and sanitation services. Picture: African News Agency
Developers have raised concerns over delays as the City performs upgrades of the water and sanitation services. Picture: African News Agency

Developers, business upset at expected delays while City upgrades water and sanitation

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Sep 13, 2021

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Cape Town - Developers and businesses are outraged by the City’s announcement that developments in the Helderberg, Milnerton and Blouberg districts will be delayed while it performs upgrades of the water and sanitation services to these areas.

Last week the City informed residents and developers that clearance for some new developments to connect to the sewerage system would be aligned to the completion of major capacity upgrades at the Potsdam, Zandvliet, and Macassar Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTWs).

Mayco member for spatial planning and environment Marian Nieuwoudt said this would ensure sustainable development and it was necessary that these plants operate within existing capacity while major upgrades are under way

“Given that preparations for most of the large developments take years, we strongly recommend that developers still go ahead and submit their applications to the City.

“Once they have the necessary approvals it means there will be no delays, and construction plans can be aligned for connection to the sewage system as soon as the new capacity at the specific water treatment plant becomes available,” said Nieuwoudt.

Western Cape Property Development Forum (WCPDF) chairperson Deon van Zyl said the City’s delays would lead to pre-sales already obtained falling away and timing-out clauses on contracts that have been signed with prospective buyers.

“As a result, many more companies in our sector will now go bankrupt, developers, contractors and subcontractors, plus, the loss of construction jobs which were dependent on these developments will be in the thousands, affecting in particular the poorest among our Cape Town communities.

“Perhaps most damaging of all will be the loss of investment confidence, as investors turn their attention away from what was once seen to be a thriving municipality to take their money elsewhere,” said Van Zyl.

Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Jacques Moolman said the City had been caught napping.

He said that instead of announcing a much-needed speeding up of the regulatory process that governs the building industry, the City promised even more delays.

“Did no one in the council up until now figure out that the sewerage system would soon not be able to keep up with developments? Do those in the various departments in the Byzantine recesses of the City bureaucracy speak to each other? It would appear not.

“Highly paid officials in water and waste appear never to have spoken to their colleagues in the spatial planning and environment department. Did the penny only drop when the sewerage started to flow into rivers?

“This sorry situation raises the suspicion once again that serving the ratepayers and the private sector that pays its rates has been forgotten by many of the council servants, rhetoric aside, of course,” said Moolman.

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